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Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui Review: Ayushmann Khurrana-Vaani Kapoor starrer breaks stereotypes and thoroughly entertains.

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The much-awaited film, Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui, starring Ayushmann Khurrana and Vaani Kapoor premiered today, December 10. Directed by Abhishek Kapoor the film deals with the topic of the LGBTQ community. 

Bollywood doesn’t have the best of track records when it come to representing the LGBTQ community on screen. In fact, most people will agree to it that Bollywood has been largely responsible for eternalizing stereotypes and a negative outlook against the transgenders and gay people. We have flicks that have demeaned the community, served with cliche gay jokes, layered with irritating background scores, and over-the-top acting by artists. Thankfully, ‘Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui’ is far away from all these precedents. Amidst the changing perspectives this Ayushmann Khurrana and Vaani Kapoor starrer comes like a breath of fresh air as it strikes a balance between entertainment and enlightenment.

The plot of the film revolves around the lives of Manvinder Munjal (Ayushmann Khurrana), and Manvi Brar (Vaani Kapoor). Manvinder aka Manu is a 32-year-old aspiring bodybuilder, who owns a gym, Jatts Flex It, with his two friends cum business partners. He aims to win the annual bodybuilding championship and runs far away from getting settled. His family pressurises him to find a suitable girl for marriage but he wishes to become Chandigarh’s Hercules. However,Things change when Maanvi Brar (Vaani), a zumba instructor is hired to take classes in his gym. Manu with his buff body and Maanvi with her glam looks, are instantly drawn to each other and what ensues is a romantic and passionate relationship between the two. Manu feels that finally, he has found his match, but then Maanvi reveals a truth about her past, that leaves Manu in a state of deep confusion. What happens next forms the crux of the story.

Over the years, Ayushmann Khurrana films have become a genre in themselves. Going impotent in Shubh Mangal Saavdhan or going bald in Bala or wearing a saree in Dream Girl and the most loved character of a sperm donor in Vicky Donor, Ayushmann continues his legacy of chosing out of the box concepts with ‘Chandigarh kare Ahshiqui’. But this time it is Vaani Kapoor who has taken the plunge and explored something new.

Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui
Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui

Ayushmann Khurrana has proved again that when it comes to light-hearted, content-driven cinema he’s the most dependable. He gets into the skin of the character (literally!).His physical transformation looks insane to say the least. .He portrays Manu perfectly, and well, that fact that he’s in reality a Chandigarh boy, must have surely helped crack it.The first frame of the film establishes Manu as a beast, and his pitch-perfect Punjabi accent works as an add-on to his character. Manu faces various issues in his life. He suffers from conservative thinking and is ignorant about LGBTQ. He is unclear about his decisions, and Ayushmann has depicted these characteristics perfectly on screen. He delivers an earnest performance, just like he has in most of his earlier films, trying to break free from the taboos that exist in the society.

Vaani Kapoor is truly a revelation here who will surely take away applause and praises. Bold, brave and unapologetic about her past, she lets Maanvi come across as someone who is not trying to change the society’s mindset but definitely acting as a catalyst in bringing about a change. This film will definitely be a milestone in her career, as her previous films, had not given her enough scope to showcase her mettle. There’s more emphasis on her acting, dialogues, performance than just her outfits. Vaani Kapoor steals the show by delivering what we can term by far the best performance of her career. She gets all the emotions bang on and is effortless in all the scenes – from light hearted to romantic and emotional. 

Ayushmann and Vaani share fiery chemistry onscreen and the two complement each other in intimate scenes without making it awkward.

When it comes to directon, Abhishek shows immense maturity, sensitivity and restraint while dealing with the story of a trans woman, and showing it onscreen in a respectful manner. The thought behind the film is very out of the box with a romantic story that has layers of passion, deceit, denial, dilemma and acceptance. Abhishek doesnt beat around the bush and gets to the point directly and quickly. About 20 minutes into the film and it’s clear where things are headed. The balance he strikes between narrating an extremely sensitive subject in a commercial, entertaining manner, without being preachy is admirable.

The script thoroughly engages us with dramatic situations and intense moments. Credit also goes to Supratik Sen and Tushar Paranjape for their honest and relatable screenplay and dialogues, which is evident in several scenes.

The film’s editing by Chandan Arora is crisp. For its almost two-hour runtime, the story is fast paced and doesn’t go off track. Right from the build-up to twists to climax, it sticks to its point without bringing needless subplots. Bindiya Chhabria’s production design is vibrant and cinematographer Manoj Lobo has beautifully shot this offbeat love story.

The music by Sachin-Jigar  with lyrics by Priya Saraiya, Vayu and IP Singh, is a valuable factor for the film. Every song either pushes the narrative ahead or convey the emotions of the characters and situations pleasingly.  

However, there are a few shortcomings too. The first half of the film is more enjoyable and the drama overshadows humour in the second half.  The last 15 minutes is all about Manu achieving his dream, but he’s lost and demoralised. The climax is little rushed and there could have been a little more about gender equality. 

Barring a predictable climax and a rushed conclusion, Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui, is like a breath of fresh air, easily Bollywood’s most progressive, mainstream movie on the LGBTQ+ community.

Other than Ayushmann and Vani Kapoor, Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui also features Abhishek Bajaj, Kanwaljit Singh, Gourav Sharma, Gautam Sharma, Yograj Singh, Aanjjan Srivastav and others.The fil is produced by T-series in collaboration with Guy in The Sky Pictures. Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui was one of the first few mainstream Indian films, apart from Akshay Kumar’s Bell Bottom, to have finished filming in two months during the time of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Also read: ‘RRR’ Trailer: Rajamouli’s magnificient directorial starring Jr NTR, Ram Charan looks larger than life.

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